Fall TV Preview

Wilmer Valderrama on NCIS Initiation Rites, New Cast 'Challenging the Genre'

With three new characters joining NCIS this season and only one vacated desk, “There’s definitely not!” room to fit them all in the squad room, Wilmer Valderrama joked during his visit with Michael Ausiello at TVLine’s Comic-Con studio presented by ZTE.

In addition to Valderrama’s Special Agent Nicholas “Nick” Torres, TV’s most watched drama added two other series regulars — Duane Henry, whose MI-6 agent debuted at the end of last season, and onetime Blue Bloods crimestopper Jennifer Esposito (as Special Agent Alexandra “Alex” Quinn).

With all this new blood, “The dynamic of the show has definitely evolved into something else,” the ’70s Show alum shared. “Some of the new characters that are coming in… are challenging the genre.”

In the video Q&A above, Valderrama also talks about working largely with series frontman Mark Harmon in his first scenes, and also hints at the “initiation” process for those joining a CBS procedural (though his fellow CBS Fan Favorite actors promise to hand over the compromising Polaroids… at some point).

Want more scoop on NCIS, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank god this was renewed for another 2 years this past year. It will at least give it a life beyond this year. I’ll give Wilmer a chance, but i haven’t been able to stand him in any show.

    The Dynamic will definitely shift. God I hope it works. But i’m not seeing it. I do see major cast changes at the end of this year tho.

    • I am guessing Wilmer will be gone at the end of the year, possibly Esposito too.

      NCIS has always lacked diversity, but when they force it it doesn’t work out either. NCIS: New Orleans still hasn’t figured out the balance between its two female leads. They just alternate week to week which one works with LaSalle. And the same thing with Daryl Chill’s character. There’s already a nerd on the show so it’s completely random when he shows up to provide insight.

  2. Norm Al says:

    I am trying to be optimistic, but I am not sure replacing 1 with 3 is the right answer. Bishop really should have another role besides regular agent, she is much better analyzing info. But, adding 3 because 1 left is just saturating the cast. What are they gonna have 2 teams within 1, an A and a B with Gibbs as the overall leader? Or, is Gibbs role in NCIS going to grow??

    • Two teams works for NCIS: LA, and that could be the dynamic they shift to. The show’s been around for a long time and some of the actors might want a lighter schedule, this is one way to accomodate that.

      • Larc says:

        It’s mainly 4 people at NCIS: LA other than the bosses (Sam & G and Kensi & Deeks), not 5. But I have a suspicion there’s yet a shoe to drop regarding NCIS casting. If not before the season starts, shortly after.

  3. Bella says:

    Wilmer Valderrama was in a 2-3 episode arc on Royal Pains and did a surprisingly good job in his role on that show. I think he might do better on NCIS than people think. With all these extra people, it will be interesting to see how they fit everybody in. Depending on how they do, I wouldn’t be surprised if some get jettisoned by the end of the season.

    • grazelled says:

      He was also in a Grey’s Anatomy arc as a patient, a classical guitar player who had a tremor in his hand and fell in love with one of the residents, Stephanie. Really surprised me with his strong dramatic acting. He did a great job with his character. This is the only reason I wasn’t shocked when I heard the news about him being cast in NCIS.

  4. Diane says:

    Wilmer V did a good job in several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. But, Jennifer Esposito is amazing. I almost stopped watching Blue Bloods after they dumped her. I’m hopeful they will all shake things up. Michael W said goodbye, end of story. The show has lots of stories left to tell and I’m so glad they didn’t bring Ziva back! She was not one of my favorites.

    • grazelled says:

      You posted right as I did about Grey’s for Wilmer V, great timing.

      Forgot about Esposito so I’m looking forward to seeing her as well. I’ve liked her work for a long time, from before Blue Bloods. To the person that mentioned adding actors for diversity because they were forced to do so, FYI Jennifer’s Italian. Not sure if you count her as “diverse”. I liked the new British agent coming in so I’m looking forward to seeing how this all works out. Looks like it’s going to be kind of fun.

  5. US says:

    I honestly think 3 new cast members added to NCIS will not improve the show as they will take away the original cast members scenes who made the show a success for 13 years.

  6. Lyn says:

    IMO NCIS is done. When this contract runs out it’s over.

  7. MMD says:

    Am not a fan of Wilmer but was hoping he would surprise me. He talks as if not only he and Gibbs are equals not only as characters but actors. Obviously he has to first win over the fans who do not take to a newcomer to an established show with so many current beloved characters. If he continues this way, he’ll be gone before he can catch his breath.

    NCIS has very devoted fans around the world who don’t take to change easily. Geeze there are still rabid Tiva fans out there and will comment again and again this year about how that is what makes the series even though there was nothing there to start with. So Wilmer, I’d tread carefully, keep your head down and concentrate on the work and even that doesn’t guarantee you success on the show or with the fans. imho

    • Ncis will try to reinvent itself. Cote and MW were critical characters around which much of the action happened between seasons 8 and 10. Bishop was intended to bring in a new dynamic to the team. We all remember that she challenged every other character in the beginning. It didn´t work. So now she is just a trainee (to be honest, I was thinking on Bishop being be replaced at the beginning of this season). Ducky, another critical characters, is more and more absent upon David McCallum request for less time involvement in the series. Abby is a character that never developed, It is always the same thing, season after season. Thus, she is unable to shake things up. And Gibbs is not the difficult, taciturn, introspective leader anymore. He is the big father now. In my opinion, the 3 new characters have the mission to put Ncis upside down. First episodes will tell us if they can succeed

  8. MMD says:

    Forgot to add that I think Jennifer Esposito will be a terrific addition to the show and I like the sound of her character.

  9. Judd says:

    They certainly completed the diversity checklist. The only question is – which one(s) is the token gay every procedural must have in the main cast these days?

  10. Paul says:

    NCIS has been a favorite show of mine for years…That 70s Show was good too, but I just don’t see him working out. To replace Michael weatherly with wilmer seems like a terrible idea. Personally I have like Jennifer Esposito in almost everything I’ve seen her in…this seems like it’ll be a very touch and go season for NCIS

  11. Patty Mills says:

    NCIS has been my favorite show for years. While I’m always willing to give new people a chance, I’m kinda worried
    about “too many cooks ” spoiling the stew. Its gonna be pretty crowded in the squad room and I’m afraid the show is gonna lose its focus. Does anybody else feel like they are trying to push the original cast members out?

    • I guess it is more like “the original formula is not capable of keeping the show alive for more than 2 seasons ahead, particularly without MW. So let´s put the show upside down. Result might be a big refreshment and the show goes on for several new seasons. Or a big failure ending in season 15”. Either case, CBS lose nothing by changing everything in NCIS

  12. Len says:

    Wilder is worst casting ever.No talent at all.NCIS could have done a lot better with anyone else

  13. Brenda says:

    Is Sean (McGee) leaving? He has actually lost so much weight he looks like someone with a bad set of dentures. I like Sean, but wow he does look ill.

  14. Harlan says:

    I don’t care for new female agent. Too many new people to solve crimes on ncis. Duane does a good job.